Why define Evangelism?
If I had a dollar every time someone asked me what I do I wouldn't have to work anymore. It is aggravating to do a job you understand but others do not. In fact, what's funniest about my job is this, over the years it has become necessary that I literally tell people I meet in the course of my business day that they can laugh at my title (Chief Evangelist) just to break the ice when I can see their brains struggling to comprehend what my role is. So I wanted to cut right to the chase and define it. And like all things big picture, the definition must be broad enough to encompass as many people as possible. Rather than make this blog post about being a chief evangelist, a corporate evangelist or a brand evangelist, I decided to call it organizational evangelism for a reason.
Why does the term Organizational Evangelism make the most sense?
When talking about evangelism other than by its purist definition, "the spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness" (google.com), it needs to encompass as many people as possible. In addition, the definition of evangelism needs to be corporate agnostic. If we believe that everyone can be an evangelist (even those who don't have the formal title) then we need a definition that applies to anyone doing any job and not just the people with the formal title.
This is where the word organizational must come in. Organizational is a very important word. It implies that the person evangelizing is either part of a group, wants to create a group or sees a group that needs direction. It is an important word because evangelism is way bigger than Corporate America, which is where the role primarily exists. It needs to allow anyone working on any cause, organization, group or company to be part of it. Using the word organizational allows us to create a definition that maximizes its tent but is specific enough to give it more clarity than it has. But most importantly, organizational evangelism enables people to associate with something they may do but not realize they are doing.
So what is definition of Organizational Evangelism that will be used on Evangelistdna.com?
Here it is plain and simple...
A person who can see what is possible, craft a message that brings it to life and has the ability to lead others there without having defined control of the vision they have conceived.
Let's break it into bite sized chunks...
If we break apart the definition into its 4 key phrases, we can build a bridge that helps us understand the entire definition.
Can see what is possible - This is the essence of evangelism. Anyone who thinks about the word evangelism imagines someone believing in some higher power or idea. The starting point of any evangelizing is having something to focus on that exits far in the distance or isn't a fully formed idea.
Craft a message that brings it to life - If you can see into the far off distance and come back to today you will need to break that message into bite sized chunks if you have any hope of achieving that vision. But bringing it to life also means you need to be able to accomplish your vision by successfully executing tangible achievement by tangible achievement if you every want anybody to believe in it.
Ability to lead others - This is simple. If you are evangelizing something you must be able to keep people with you along the journey. You can scream all you want, but if you can get others to see where you are going and follow you, it doesn't really matter.
Without having defined control of the vision - This is probably the most critical phrase of the definition. Evangelist see the true north, create a message to make others understand, lead people there BUT a great evangelist doesn't need control to bring them there. It doesn't mean they don't have control, but in order to make the tent wide enough, our definition is predicated on getting them there without control. Control isn't evangelism, leading others without budget, people or authority is.
There you have it. A simple high level definition of organizational evangelism. It is the foundation that all future posts can be filtered through. This definition is meant to help you understand the concept, but also gives you a place to jump off from as you think about who you are, what role you want to have and what you believe you want to get others to see. Armed with a clear definition you can now make sure you can have the greatest influence possible on the world around you.